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Comment: Re:Sudden? (Score 1, Insightful) 263

by dj245 (#49751377) Attached to: ESA Satellite Shows Sudden Ice Loss In Southern Antarctic Peninsula

There are many cases where even republicans go on record stating man made climate change. It is basicly the Oil industry who is trying to keep the doubt about it. So the politicians Democrat or republican (mostly republican) who come from the Energy Producing states. Will play onto the spew to keep themselves elected.

Politics are not Pro- or Anti-Science. It is weather the science is political useful for them or not. Otherwise they will be happy putting their head in the sand.

Have you ever visited a coal mining town that doesn't mine coal anymore? The end result is almost always a severely depressed area, rampant poverty, high unemployment and underemployment, high drug use and abuse, prostitution, etc. A lot (millions) of people live in oil towns and oil cities in the US. For the good of the world, maybe we need to cut back on oil and gas. But the politicians would not be doing their job if they didn't represent the people who elected them.

I see a lot of people calling for an end to oil and gas but nobody ever makes a plan, or offers to fund a plan, on how to retrain all the workers, repurpose the assets, align interconnected industries, etc. It hasn't been done because the problem is a lot more difficult than environmentalists ever imagine.

Comment: Re:ISRO sponsered by BIC (Score 0) 77

by dj245 (#49751255) Attached to: India Targets July/August To Test Its Space Shuttle

The unmanned shuttle will fly to a height of approximately 70 kilometers before splashing down in the Bay of Bengal. Oddly, the vehicle itself probably won't be recovered.

How can it be called a Shuttle if it's only going to be used once?

And while we are at it, since the beginning of "space" is generally accepted to be 100KM and this thing is only going up 70KM, the "space" part of its name is inaccurate too.

But I guess "space shuttle" sounds better than "big can we're chucking high up into the air and then letting sink into the ocean".

India does things on the cheap. This is what happens when your engineers have degrees from the school of Kerbal Space Program.

Comment: Re:Rich Family Dies, World At Peril!!! (Score 3, Informative) 179

by dj245 (#49750151) Attached to: DNA On Pizza Crust Leads To Quadruple Murder Suspect

If you pick a black person and then pick a random victim, it's more likely the victim will be white than black, because there are more white people than black people.

Then why are there more murders committed by black people (against all sorts of victims) then would be accounted for by their percentage of the population? What is your point, exactly? Yes, there are more "white" people than "black" people in the general population. That's not what's being discussed. What's being discussed is the rate of crime coming out of specific demographics.

Income inequality if the largest driver of murders. Homicide has a r=0.8 correlation with income inequality.. 10% of whites are in poverty in the USA, but 27% of blacks are in poverty. Poverty (income inequality), crime, and race are all related in the USA. That's not good, but it does open options because there are a lot more levers available to pull. Reduce minority poverty, and minority crime will probably drop too. There are lots of ways to do that, but it takes a huge effort to do so.

Comment: Re:Lighter socket in a positive-ground vehicle (Score 1) 825

by dj245 (#49738541) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

My car doesn't have a 12V outlet, you insensitive clod (and if it did, the polaritity would be reversed) -- car built in '57, with positive ground wiring.

Then reverse the wires going to the receptacle. An ANSI/SAE J563 receptacle in a positive-ground vehicle would have -12 to -15 V on the can and ground on the tip.

That seems inherently unsafe. Not dangerously unsafe, but unsafe nonetheless. Having the ground be the first contact made is standard practice for a reason.

Comment: Re:I wonder how long... (Score 2) 50

Well, they're already opting to have damaged natural joints like hips and knees replaced. That's a case of upgrading from natural to artificial to gain function. As the performance of artificial limbs increase, it might become an increasingly commonplace treatment for older people, just like knee or hip replacement.

If we project that trend forward for twenty or thirty years I wouldn't be surprised at all to see artificial legs that outperform natural legs for the purposes of walking or even running. But I don't think people with normal abilities will be trading in their limbs just to be able walk a little longer, run a little faster, or carry more weight. That won't happen until the replacement is subjectively indistinguishable from the real thing; until you can feel the grass under your toes.

I'm comfortable predicting locomotion parity in the next fifty years, but I wouldn't care to speculate on when we'll see sensory parity.

I think it will be way more likely that exoskeleton type systems using the same control mechanism will be developed. They could have adaptive algorithms which gradually decrease the power output over time, forcing the patient to develop muscle mass in a safe and 100% controlled manner. It could prevent people with broken or weak bones from making damaging movements, while at the same time allowing rehabilitative movements. It would revolutionize the rehabilitation industry.

The same technology could be used, it has all the advantages of bionic limb replacement, plus you get to keep your limbs.

Comment: Re:Why did they ditch the TV? (Score 5, Insightful) 243

by dj245 (#49729003) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

Because they have half a clue ...

Apple doesn't enter a market unless they see the ability to innovate and change it. They aren't always first movers, but they DO bring innovation and of course profits to any segment they enter.

The magic is in saying "NO" to doing things that don't make sense... entering a crowded, unimaginative, razor-thin margin, mature TV market doesn't make sense for Apple. That's why they said no.... No more, no less.

My company declines jobs and new markets all the time. We run some quick numbers and make a decision on whether it makes sense to take on X risk for Y% margin. Nobody calls us "magic".

Apple doesn't enter a market unless they see the potential to charge $1 for a lime that everyone else is selling for 50 cents.

Comment: Re:Mixed reaction (Score 1) 318

by dj245 (#49726891) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States

The real issue should be is evaluating regulations that the Taxi companies have to follow and the rules that Uber drivers do not.

Why? In most places, the rules that Uber isn't following are because they are operating in violation of the law. They themselves have created the uneven playing field by refusing to operate under the law. The only distinction between Uber and a traditional taxi dispatcher dispatching independent cabs is that one uses a piece of software and the other (historically) has used phones.

Comment: Re:I miss Groklaw. (Score 1) 66

You get trade dress on the non-functional part.

Orange's Orange garb is not functional in so far as the COLOUR goes. They can't get trade dress on the overalls' style, since that is generic. Nor on the vans an cars. But the colour, they can.

Same here.

Rounded corners (and don't give me BS about "it's not rounded corners". Go to the patent. There's fuck all BUT corners- not even aspect ratios or curve radius appears in the patent - and a picture of someone holding the tablet).

I believe the correct patent number is D670286. This is the first time I have looked at this patent. I encourage everyone to take a brief look at it, it is a very short read and even more ridiculous than I ever could have imagined. I've read my share of BS patents but this one takes the cake.

Comment: Re:Rich stock analysts (Score 2) 335

by dj245 (#49721237) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

You're right. Let me rephrase that. I've never met a rich stock analyst who made his money by doing exactly what he told everyone else to do.

I've only ever found 1 who seems to do that. This guy. One of his rules is that he discloses what he is currently investing in. He also revisits his predictions later, identifies how he was wrong , and offers some commentary, as in the last table of this article.

I have not actually subscribed to his services, but have read his (Free!) newsletters for many years.

Comment: Re:Major changes in many countries (Score 5, Insightful) 333

by dj245 (#49720881) Attached to: Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine

There has been practically zero progress on handling the demand side. Doing so would require a radical rethink of how Western countries deal with drugs and drug addiction. This is not likely to happen in the next 20 years at least, and it is stupid to condemn other countries to 20 more years of violence by keeping our focus on limiting supply.

In Canada (at least in Sydney, Nova Scotia), addicts get their fix right at the hospital. For free.

It seems stupid at first, but it is extremely effective in reducing all kinds of crime related to drugs and addiction. Nobody there is breaking into houses or summer cabins looking for painkillers or goods to pawn. Nobody is stealing car stereos and pawning them to finance their habit. The number of people mixing dangerous chemicals in their house or garage is reduced. Why bother with all that when you just go to the hospital and get your legal high for free? Product originating from Taliban-controlled areas can't compete with free.

If Marijuana is more your style, they have medical marijuana laws and lax enforcement of recreational use. The end result is that local people grow it in their basements, cutting out any foreign supplier or middlemen. Marijuana isn't free, but I have yet to hear of any case where someone broke the law in order to get money to buy weed.

Comment: Re:Sudafed (Score 2, Interesting) 333

by dj245 (#49720783) Attached to: Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine

We had this "better world" 130ish years ago. It was not better, addicts were becoming a huge problem for the society - the actual reason drugs became illegal. And yes, there still was a war in Afghanistan.

Yes, but 130 years ago we were still in an "all hands on deck" global economy. We now have the ability to produce all the things that the world needs or wants with far less than 100% of the population. The global economy no longer needs a significant portion of the population to participate in the economy. How do you solve that? Having a class of people who do nothing but drugs all day long may actually be somewhat helpful in solving the problem of what to do with all the people that society doesn't need.

Comment: Re:You're dying off (Score 5, Insightful) 284

by dj245 (#49718965) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

While those Gizmos may be cool and fun, they are no longer your major concern. Now this isn't all that bad, you are more mature and comfortable with yourself, things don't bother you so much, but you also need such distractions as well.

I thought like that for a long time, then one day I realized that I had optimized "fun" almost entirely out of my life. I am a lot happier now that I make sure to budget for "fun" things. Going through life without frivolous, but fun things was negatively affecting my mental condition. The joy of saving a dollar can only take you so far.

Comment: Re:Oh please (Score 1) 284

by dj245 (#49718929) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

Hardly anyone over the age of 25 cares about the eye candy touchscreen and gadgets in the car. They either car about space for kids and/or general crap, fuel economy, performance or looks or a combination of the above. Everything else can be done on a smartphone.

Well, I'm 30 and I drive a lot of rental cars. There is a big difference between an entertainment system done right, and one which has an idiotic interface. I love the Remote touch (a trackball/mouse-like interface) in my Lexus, even though I hate the rest of the entertainment system. It's conveniently located right where my hand would be comfortably resting anyway.

On the other hand, in many Ford models, if I set up the seat to be perfectly comfortable for my legs, then all the controls are about 3" farther away than I can reach without leaning forward. I'm 5'10" tall and don't have stubby arms so that's just poor design.

100,000 miles in a car at 45MPH is equivalent to over a year's worth of 40-hour weeks. I don't know about you, but I am interested in having the most positive experience in my car that I can reasonably afford, because during the lifetime of a car a great deal of time is spent in it. So I pay attention to everything that adds or detracts from a positive experience.

Comment: Re:Lobbying Against PTC (Score 1) 393

by dj245 (#49718797) Attached to: Feds Order Amtrak To Turn On System That Would've Prevented Crash

Replying as anonymous for business reasons...

I worked on the PTC a few years ago with Lockheed Martin and Norfolk Southern. The LM folks were very committed to the program, but NS kept reducing funding. I wont make you read between the lines here, the program was a absolute disaster.

Technologically the solution evolved GPS/Radio units in every train and maintenance vehicle that reported back to a bunker, data center, the trains approximate location, direction, and speed. However because of accuracy issues it was really hard to tell EXACTLY which track a train was on, especially in high density rail yards. So train GPS was supplemented by track circuits which in theory tell you if a train is on a section of track. Which is good in theory, but it can't tell you which train, nor distinguish between maintenance vehicles and trains, nor can it tell you how fast or long a train is.

Knowing how long a train is became important for guaranteeing safe spacing between vehicles, as well as knowing safe times to switch track selectors.

And don't get me started on the software, if anything were ever written by a room full of monkeys it was the PTC software. I recall one function in particular that controlled logic for determining which track a train was likely to be on; when printing out was over 30 foot long. To give you a since of how convoluted that code was, that single function had a McCabe complexity of over 1.5 million.

Now I don't care how brilliant you THINK you are as a programmer, but thinking that you could understand that function only proved to me you were an idiot. 1.5 million possible paths through that one function (yes I know that we didn't account for similar condition statements that artificially inflate that number). That one function is absolutely guaranteed to kill your program, and we stressed that until we were released from the program. Just by odds alone, you are likely to add 5-10 defects while trying to fix a bug in it. And for two solid years that is exactly what happened, the defect count literally oscillated like a sin-wave function.

I'm not telling you this as a slight at the programmers, nor the management. I'm telling you this because a project like PTC is HARD, its like the traveling salesman problem but with 50 salesman who can't be at the same place at the same time, but can pass each-other as needed, are likely going in opposite directions, and you have to recompute the whole mess every 30 seconds and resolve conflicts when a previous solution made the train "jump". Let me tell you there is nothing worse than watching a train make it's way through a switch yard then suddenly jump 10 lanes halfway through on the display.

I too was once involved in a Lockheed software project for a (thankfully) brief time. I came away with the impression that Lockheed has a very strong aversion to anything that wasn't developed there. Using Off-the-shelf hardware or software just isn't their thing, and making convoluted code was very common. Its how they run up the man-hour bill and keep support contracts. I would even go as far as to say that writing crappy code and using custom hardware is part of their business model.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 529

by dj245 (#49710997) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Sorry bub. There's no such thing as "equal footing".

It's a nice concept. But that's all it is.

What you're asking for isn't EQUAL treatment. It's SPECIAL treatment.

This is victim mentality and places you at greater disadvantage than the actual oppression did to your ancestors.

And your mindset would have us eternally offering "reparations" because there's no way you can ever be "equal" in your own mindset.

Nowadays, how much of the African American community's problems are from remnants of oppression and how much is of their own making?

The fact is, the deck is stacked against black men from birth. Would you mind being born black in the USA? I wouldn't wish that on anybody. All the skill and bootstraplifting in the world can't make up for the inequalities that some minorities face from K-12. The problem is that we are not trying very hard to equal the K-12 system, we are trying to fix things at the college level with special treatment. At that point, we are stacking the deck against good students to try to make up for not doing so at the elementary school level.

"Ahead warp factor 1" - Captain Kirk